2020: Thank You for the Workout

- Friday, September 25, 2020
running the distance

I find it hard to believe that we are pushing into October. Really? October? What a year 2020 has been so far. This week I had a chance to hear Extension administrators from across the U.S. talk about how we’ve been able to adapt over the past several months. With every story shared, I was reminded of just how resilient we can be and it felt good to know that being an Extension professional provides us the opportunity to be part of something bigger.

It looks and feels like the larger environment in which we operate will continue to look the same for the foreseeable future. The university has shared plans through spring semester 2021. Given what has been shared, it makes sense to approach our work over the next six months in the same way we have approached our work since March.

That said, if you have not already, I encourage you to briefly reflect on what you have learned since March and use this knowledge to sketch out a plan of work for what remains of 2020 and into 2021. What would you include? Think about these five:

  1. scheduled and proposed engagements (e.g. formal teaching, facilitation opportunities, field visits, etc) with a short description of the anticipated audiences for each
  2. creative and scholarly efforts, both planned and currently in-process (e.g. curriculum, webinars, videos, etc)
  3. professional development opportunities to be pursued and specific professional development needed (e.g. inservices, webinars, virtual conferences, etc)
  4. those things you can stop doing (make the list and put them in some semblance of order)
  5. that one big thing (e.g. what big project or systemwide initiative might you want to work on if you had a bit of ‘extra’ time?)

Regardless of your position, how might you work with your colleagues in drafting a collaborative plan that includes specific roles for everyone in your office? How might you sketch out your county-level collaborative plans that engage support staff, program staff, and field specialists, for example?  Maybe think about your specific contributions to statewide teams and your other collaborative efforts that might engage new and different audiences.

If nothing else, the past several months have served to remind us what we are capable of enduring. Okay, none of us asked for that, but thank you for the workout. Now that we have grown stronger, how do we work together to make the most of the opportunities on the horizon?

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